My inner Batman fanboy is struggling with Gotham’s handling of the Batman legacy. We’ve already seen Firefly, Joker, Scarecrow, Penguin, Catwoman and now Mr. Freeze. At this point it’s probably best for any longtime Batman fans to just pretend this is Earth-72’s version of Gotham and enjoy the ride.
Once you do that, episodes like this week became a lot more entertaining. While Gotham continues to have a questionable approach toward Batman, its anything goes take on the comic book continuity definitely helps it stay amazingly unpredictable.
Gordon and Bullock were still trying to track down Victor Fries figuring it’d be just a matter of time since GCPD had his wife, Nora, in custody. A lot of times the super villain power effects look a little cheap, but Mr. Freeze’s iced over visuals have looked very strong especially in showing how deadly his powers are as several GCPD officers were impaled on ice projectiles. Freeze had a simple message — free his wife.
Bruce and Alfred returned from a mini-vacation, but Bruce was still razor focused on tracking down Matches Malone — the man Silver claimed actually killed his parents. In the comics, that’s just an alias Bruce uses to get information from crooks when Batman won’t suffice, but in Gotham he very well could be the Waynes’ murderer. The writers have gotten much better about not falling over themselves trying to foreshadow aspects of Bruce’s future.
This week’s conversation where Bruce asks Lee if someone can be two people at once was a nice subtle hint of the dual nature of Bruce Wayne the flippant playboy and Batman the obsessed vigilante. It’s taken some time, but David Mazouz is starting to mature in the role. This was one of his stronger scenes and he nearly matched that when he asked Selina about getting a gun for him. We’re seeing the gradual turn of naive Bruce who thought the police would quickly find his parents’ killer into a more calculated, thoughtful young man ready to take whatever steps necessary to see justice be done.
Gordon and company decided using Nora as bait at Arkham would be the most effective way to bring Fries out, but Lee wasn’t signing off unless she could accompany Nora. Naturally, Hugo Strange and his equally odd assistant Mrs. Peabody have Lee and Nora wait in the med room where a comatose Barbara is still recuperating from her fall.
Penguin’s subplot of being stuck in Arkham isn’t doing much for me. Despite his quasi-friendship/alliance of convenience with Gordon, he’s still a hardcore criminal that probably needs rehabilitation. And it’s hard to find him especially sympathetic given all the terrible things he’s done. That said, Gordon comes off like a major jerk here for blowing off Penguin, who’s really only ever tried to be Gordon’s friend. When Penguin finally retaliates against Gordon it’s going to be hard to feel like he didn’t have it coming.
BD Wong hasn’t needed much time to establish Strange as one of the most interesting characters on the show. While it felt the whole fall of Theo Galavan storyline ended too abruptly, Strange has more than filled the charismatic villain slot.
As Fries rumbled through Arkham looking like a Colts player in his white football pad outfit, Strange helped him evade detection from Gordon and the gang long enough to trade a cryogenic capsule for his safe escape.
Always one to screw up a villainous plan, Gordon avoids Strange’s trap (under the guise of faulty equipment) and confronts Fries. It’s a testament to Nathan Darrow‘s performance that Freeze can go killing folks left and right and still make his character sympathetic. Given the slightest opportunity to save a loved one, how many folks wouldn’t do whatever it took to help them?
Watching a desperate Fries frantically try and save Nora even as he’s become a killer, Lee couldn’t help but see Gordon in a similar light. Especially since Lee could still see some traces of the good man Fries was and the extent he would go for his wife. This growing tension between Gordon and Lee over the lies he keeps is going to prove very interesting as the season winds down. As the pain ravaged her body, Nora was at peace and ready to die so she switched the cryo containers to a defective batch resulting in Fries unintentionally killing his wife.
With little to live for now, Fries unsealed his freeze suit and exposed himself to the subzero temperatures and his apparent death. Strange has other plans for him though. Hiding him away in the secret lab, Strange reveals Fries can survive in absolute zero, but the biggest surprise is an apparent clone army Strange is making using Theo Galavan as the base model. This show is getting crazier by the episode yet somehow it’s working.
Rating: 8.5 out of 10
Gotham isn’t even trying to stay within the lines of the Batman comic anymore and it’s become a better show in its own right as a result. With Freeze and Strange teaming up, Gordon and company are going to stay busy.
Photo Credit: FOX